Saturday, October 11, 2003

Automated syndication doesn't replace an editor

Curious what ESPN pundits might say about today's football game between Michigan State and Illinois, I went to espn.com and drilled down until I found the Michigan State team page. Look what I found:



The two articles are from October 8, and they have nothing to do with Michigan State. Obviously some automated syndicator robot has found "Michigan State" tangentially mentioned in these articles, and serves up irrelevant content to the reader.

ESPN's main presence is of course cable TV, but they syndicate content for their Web site as well as their magazine. The Web presence needs a smarter robot or a human editor.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

"We helped Jetblue do something unique with their data"

Whenever a major plane crash kills passengers, airlines routinely shut down all advertising -- out of respect for the victims -- and out of common sense. They should remember to check the online advertising inventory they've already got running.

Recently we learned that the upstart airline Jetblue had secretly shared personal passenger information with a small Alabama data mining company doing terrorism research for the Army. Jetblue fell all over itself apologizing to its customers.

Days after the news broke, en route to some information about viruses and worms, I stumbled upon an online ad where Unisys brags about how it helps Jetblue manage its passengers' data in a very personal way. Here is the ad in context of the Internetweek article where I found it:



... and here is the actual animated GIF:



In this case, no one died, but Jetblue's reputation took a major hit. I bet that even if Jetblue tried to cancel all online ads, it forgot that Unisys was touting how it helps Jetblue manage passenger data so well. Yes, Jetblue "treated their customers like people"-- like people whose personal information should be shared with small consulting firms for their data analysis research. Who looks dumber here, Jetblue or Unisys? Ouch!